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University of Missouri Health Care News Releases
MU Health Care wins national award for staff-support initiative

December 2, 2009                                                                                           Contact: Matt Splett
                                                                                                                             Media Coordinator
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                           (573) 882-5663

COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri Health Care has received a national Hope Award for an initiative designed to provide 24-hour peer support and counseling to nurses, physicians and other staff affected by unanticipated or stressful events while caring for patients. 

The national award recognizes MU Health Care’s newly established forYOU team as an industry leader in developing a unique support program for health care workers. The forYOU team consists of 51 volunteer staff members who are specially trained to provide 24-hour on-call care to their co-workers. It was given to MU Health Care by the Medically Induced Trauma Support Services (MITSS) organization.

“The forYOU team recognizes that our employees and health care professionals have needs just like our patients,” said Susan Scott, R.N., M.S.N., coordinator of patient safety at MU Health Care. “We assembled a group of peers who have good listening and supportive skills and are specially trained to help a clinician through a stressful situation.”

“Because MU Health Care is a referral center for other hospitals in central Missouri as well as the region’s only Level I trauma center, our patients are frequently acutely ill or injured,” Scott said. “A nurse or physician who spends days or weeks caring for a severely injured infant or a terminal cancer patient, for example, can be emotionally devastated when the patient dies.”

The Hope Award recognizes MU Health Care as one of the first health care systems in the country to establish a forYOU team, and to provide a model for other health care providers to follow. Developers of the forYOU team have published research articles and presented findings at national and international conferences. In addition to the MITSS Hope Award, the forYOU team was recognized in September with the Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield Missouri Best Practice Award.

“Hospital and clinics across the country are turning to MU Health Care for guidance as they establish similar programs,” said Les Hall, M.D., chief medical officer at MU Health Care.

The forYOU team members view colleagues experiencing an emotional or physical response to an unanticipated medical event as second victims. The forYOU team provides support to these second victims at all MU Health Care hospitals and clinics.

When activated, members of the forYOU team establish a confidential dialogue with the affected clinician. All forYOU team members have been trained in providing one-on-one support. Rather than focusing on details of the event, the supportive discussions center on the emotional and physical reactions to the unexpected event.

“We want to restore confidence in our clinicians and let them know they are trusted and valuable members of our health care team,” said Scott.

The MITSS Hope Award was established in 2008 to recognize individuals or groups who support healing and restore hope to patients, families and clinicians affected by an unexpected medical event. This year marked the first time the award was open to nominations, which came from across the United States.

Medically Induced Trauma Support Services is a non-profit corporation based in Chestnut Hill, Mass., whose mission is “To Support Healing and Restore Hope” to patients, families, and clinicians who have been impacted by an adverse medical event.

University of Missouri Health Care's network of hospitals, clinics and telehealth sites reaches across the state of Missouri. Each year more than 20,000 patients are cared for in its hospitals and more than 500,000 patients are treated in its clinics. University Hospital and Clinics, Children's Hospital, Columbia Regional Hospital and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center are based in Columbia, MO. University Hospital offers the area’s only level I Trauma Center and burn intensive care unit. Children’s Hospital is mid-Missouri’s only comprehensive pediatric facility with more than 30 specialties. CRH provides the area’s most comprehensive medical team for women’s health and houses the Family Birth center and Level III neonatal intensive care unit. Dedicated solely to cancer, Ellis Fischel is the state’s designated cancer center and offers the region’s most comprehensive screening program. The health system also includes a long-term acute care facility, Missouri Rehabilitation Center, in Mount Vernon, Mo.

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